Court: Nevada Supreme Court
Date Filed: Sept. 19, 2023
Background: In 2021, a Nevada jury found United Healthcare Insurance Company liable for underpaying out-of-network medical providers and awarded a group of emergency room doctors nearly $63 million in damages. The high-profile trial, which was livestreamed and reported on extensively in the press, offered the public a glimpse inside the inner workings of the nation’s healthcare system.
During the trial, exhibits and transcripts were admitted into evidence without being sealed by the court. Those records have since become the subject of a related dispute, as United Healthcare and out-of-network medical providers continue to battle over billing in courts across the country.
In November 2022, United Healthcare petitioned the Nevada Supreme Court to direct the district court to retroactively seal the already-public trial exhibits and transcripts and enjoin the parties from publishing them. The health insurance company argues that the records contain trade secrets, and that they are subject to a protective order.
Our Position: The Nevada Supreme Court should deny United Healthcare’s petition.
- Judicial proceedings and records are presumptively public under the common law and the First Amendment.
- The public’s presumptive right of access attaches to the trial exhibits and transcripts at issue.
- There can be no compelling interest in sealing the court records at issue because they were made public at trial.
Quote: “In sum, this Court should reject United’s attempt to retroactively seal trial exhibits and transcripts that have long since entered the public domain. Any other result would severely undermine the right of access and burden courts with the impossible task of making already-public documents secret again.”